2008 Award for Administrative Excellence
Chief James Overton, Delaware State University
In 2000, Delaware State University (DSU) hired its first sworn Police Chief, and three sworn officers, one of which was James Overton. In May 2005, James Overton became the Chief of Police for DSU. With the University's support, the Department of Safety grew to its current staffing of 14 sworn officers, with a projected additional five to six officers being added this year. This is a great accomplishment because all the police candidates must successfully complete the State Police Academy (live-in) which lasts six months.
Chief Overton quickly realized the current equipment was not sufficient to keep up with a growing University. He obtained grants which purchased cameras that monitored all traffic entering and exiting the campus through the main gate; cameras for the Alumni Stadium; and cameras that monitored foot and vehicular traffic in the University Courtyard, an off campus apartment complex that experienced robberies and drug dealing.
As calls for service increased, Chief Overton knew just hiring more dispatchers was not the answer. He obtained grants to purchase 800 MHz radios, an in-car camera, additional police vehicles, among other items. Working with Sprint/Nextel, he purchased and installed a new console in the Dispatch Center. This console allows both the 800 MHz and UHF radios to be monitored simultaneously; it is equipped with push-to-talk, which enables dispatchers to contact groups or individuals. Chief Overton was able to save the University $28,000 when purchasing this equipment due to his extensive knowledge of technology, and his savvy ability to market the products.
Chief Overton, with his strong working relationships with companies such as Advantech, Nextel and Honeywell (a sponsor of IACLEA) and networking abilities, has been able to obtain several large grants. One recent grant allowed for the purchase of video cameras for five Freshman Dormitories. Chief Overton was instrumental in securing an $890,000 federal grant which enable DSU to obtain the funding for the Mobile Credentialing and Crime Scene Processing Unit project. This project will allow mobile identification of first responders, the medical community, etc. to be identified at crime scenes throughout the region with FIPS 201 compatibility. Also, this project will allow better collection, logging and storing of evidence at crime scenes.
DSU is also in the final stages of deploying INFO-COP in the State of Delaware. DSU Department of Public Safety will be the only Law Enforcement Agency in the State of Delaware this year to implement this system, and will be the State’s hub for INFO-CORP (which allows private industry the ability to conduct criminal checks through DUS Public Safety and receive an immediate response). INFO-COP and INFO-CORP are being implemented at DSU as an intricate part of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security that established the Homeland Security Institute. This agreement is for the development of a Homeland Security curriculum which will eventually lead to a Homeland Security Degree Program offered at Delaware State University. And as a result of Chief Overton’s ability to network, the system was at no cost to DSU, and these cost saving measures were taken into consideration when Chief Overton requested that his sworn officers (Sergeants and below) be given a 10 percent pay increase (the request was granted).
In the summer of 2007, Chief James Overton was appointed to Homeland Security Advisory Committee for the State of Delaware. Chief Overton is the only University Chief to hold a seat on this committee. Chief Overton was promoted from Director of Public Safety, to Associate Vice President for Public Safety.
Chief Overton was nominated by Captain Belinda R. Baker, Delaware State University.